Hosia Mviringi Correspondent
The United States Embassy in Harare has reactivated its propaganda machinery ahead of the forthcoming by-elections slated for March 26.
After a notable lull in propaganda tweets since the departure of the disgraced former Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Brian Nichols last September, the opposition consulate, as it has grown to be known, has rehired its CIA trained operatives behind such civic groups as Kubatana.net to resurrect its propaganda machinery.
“Zimbabwe Constitution grants citizens the right to choose their representatives in legitimate, credible, and peaceful elections. Multiple obstacles, however, prevented many Zimbabweans from registering to vote in time for by-elections despite the #RegistertoVote campaign efforts,” lamented the US Embassy in a string of tweets.
The nation woke up on January 18, 2022 to a string of tweets by the US Embassy in Harare in a familiar and highly predictable fashion that precedes all major events on the calendar.
When all efforts at advising and financially arming the MDC Alliance (MDC-A) faction that is led by Nelson Chamisa have failed, the US Embassy is now leading the pack in building a case for an MDC election boycott.
Allegations of an uneven playing field are beginning to fly around, purportedly to build a case for a boycott.
The US Embassy has invested massively in the MDC project for over two decades now, all in the vain hope for regime change in Zimbabwe. Yet all has come to naught.
The embassy reckons that realistically it is impossible for the MDC-A to form a party and go on to win an election with only one-and-a-half months to go before elections.
This is why they are pushing for a boycott.
They believe it will be the best-foot-forward strategy for the MDC A, or the nameless party, to buy time and put their house in order while avoiding the embarrassment that comes with losing a by-election on the eve of harmonised elections in 2023.
The MDC-A, since its formation on September 11, 1999, has been used as a Trojan horse for regime change efforts in Zimbabwe by the US following the successful land reform programme.
The noble land reforms have to date put over 300 000 Zimbabwean families onto arable agricultural plots for decent livelihoods.
Successive US ambassadors to Zimbabwe have failed to deliver on one of their most important mandates, which is to propel the MDC into national governance.
Most envoys have had to employ desperate tactics such as sponsoring doggy civic groups and individual activists to put international pressure on Harare.
Yet all of them have had to leave with tails nicely tucked in between their legs. The latest US action is not surprising.
It would have been odd if they had not resorted to their overtures, which they deploy towards each and every election.
The by-elections on March 26, 2022, present the worst nightmare for the Nelson Chamisa formation and its primary sponsors, the US Embassy.
The US Embassy, which resembles a ship without a captain since the departure of yet another failed diplomat, Mr Brian Nichols on September 14, 2021, has struggled over the years, and lately clutching at straws to save the sinking MDC titanic.
It is evident that the beckoning elections have given the US Embassy a new lease of life and a fresh justification for its existence in Zimbabwe.
However, the act of merely criticising Zimbabwean electoral laws while hiding behind a Twitter handle does nothing, but reduce the once respected consulate to an activist outpost.
The US Embassy is now in a much predictable tendency of hiring extra Zimbabwean activists to run their propaganda social media ahead of major events.
The last time they hired one Hopewell Chin’ono was on the eve of sanctions renewal in February 2021.
Then the operator went overboard for Uncle Sam to the extent that we witnessed Shona tweets on a foreign Embassy Twitter handle!
In the latest tirade, the Embassy claims that the Government of Zimbabwe shut out some potential voters, with three days before nominations courts.
Voter registration in Zimbabwe is a continuous voluntary exercise, which opens soon after an election up to the next elections. The US Embassy is indeed in panic mode as the clock ticks towards a decisive election which is sure to deal a deadly blow to the MDC project.
“To ensure #ZimVotesMatter, electoral reform is needed to remove the barriers to voter registration for full participation in upcoming elections. Every citizen should have a clear path to vote. #ZimElectoralReform,” said the US Embassy in one of its many rabid tweets.
Where on earth have electoral reforms happened two weeks before an election?
It would be expected that if the US Embassy in Harare really cared about equitable voter registration, they would have expended their efforts and resources on voter education instead of sponsoring self-abductions of opposition activists.
Or simply, they could find a small corner to sit and watch Zimbabweans deal with their own politics, as is expected of well-mannered visitors.
While they claim that the Electoral Act of Zimbabwe needs to be amended, they did nothing during the tenure between the last elections to date to encourage such amendment through formal channels.
In any case, does the Zimbabwean Constitution have to be beholden to the whims of an erstwhile oppressor nation, which still maintains a destructive sanctions regime against the country?
We cannot trust people who are hurting us through sanctions to give us ideas in good faith.
If the US was indeed concerned with real equity among Zimbabweans, they would appreciate how their evil sanctions have disenfranchised Zimbabweans and robbed them of their rights and civil liberties due to economic strangulation.
Surely the same country that has presided over a destructive and illegal sanctions regime, which has seen hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans losing their lives through hunger, disease, and extreme poverty, cannot claim to love Zimbabweans today.
The desperation by the US Embassy in Harare was further made manifest by their promise to keep tweeting what they call “several examples of what our Government sees as the criteria for a free and fair election”.
What hogwash from a government that is still reeling from a disgraceful election that lost all credibility when the military had to be deployed inside Capitol Hill to quell mass protests against electoral fraud!
The subsequent muzzling, persecution, and shutting out of a Presidential contestant can surely never pass for a democratic representation of a people’s will.
Even their social networks like Twitter have shut Trump out, yet they want to preach equitable media coverage to Zimbabwe.
It then puzzles the mind what criteria for free and fair elections would the US export to Zimbabwe when the same failed to work in their own country. Zimbabweans cannot be night-schooled on democracy by a failed democracy.
Indeed the US Embassy has itself to blame for thinking that Zimbabwean voters reside on Twitter.
The Embassy went all out to sponsor a Twitter hashtag #RegistertoVote which has proved to be a fluke.
Probably their frustrations are understandable.
The Embassy, besides being manned by decorated former spies and spooks, it remains as one of the most unintelligent consulates ever seen.
They rely on data and evidence provided by hungry civic and opposition activists, which is then presented in Washington as “intelligence”.
Many foreign policy actions towards Zimbabwe have been a result of lobbying by prepaid civic society activists, most of whom only care about their next meal.
The embassy claims that the Government can effect electoral reforms, which involve amendments to the Electoral Act, all within the short two months remaining before by-elections on March 26, 2022.
Is it naivety or contempt?
It can be seen through the smokescreen that the embassy is building a case for an election boycott in protest over the same laws under which the same MDC contested elections in 2018, an election which they still claim to have won. What hypocrisy!
It is too disingenuous for the embassy to involve itself in a clear case of trying to rescue a failed political movement that is sure to find its permanent place into oblivion soon after the upcoming elections.
Somebody needs to tell the US Embassy that the MDC card has failed, that it has reached its sell-by date, and that it cannot be recycled.
Of course, the embassy’s Twitter rantings have not been without a backlash from the comment section.
“Nonsense; deal with insurrection you faced about this time last year back in America. Why do you think our democratic processes are beholden to you, Mister self-appointed-world-policeman?” said one Twitter user going by the name @Jamwanda2.
Mr Thomas R. Hastings, who is the Charge dè Affairs at the Westgate compound, is up for a rude awakening, and the fact that he should get new advisors who think outside the box is not an overstatement.
A strategy that failed 20 years ago can be sure to fail again, dismally.
Chati homu chareva!